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Back Against the Ropes

Recently, my family and I signed up for a boxing fitness class. We are quite the site – my husband, three daughters, and me – suited up in real boxing gloves swinging at our imaginary opponent in the mirror. “1-2-3-4-5-6,” is what the instructor calls out as we move in unison with the jab, hook, and upper cut combination. During the one-hour session, I imagine being in the ring boxing my way off the ropes to defeat my opponent within seconds of the bell. Although there is no ring or angry opponent to battle until the end, the fitness class does resemble life. In the class, we’re taught defensive and offensive moves. We’re taught the value of our stance (how our feet and body are aligned) as to avoid losing our balance with each punch. Powerful life lessons!

What do you do when life throws you a punch and backs you up against the ropes? Do you come out swinging? Do you go duck and hide? My move from Corporate America to life as an entrepreneur has been full of those times. The obstacles in front of me are like battling that imaginary opponent in the mirror – just swinging in the air. There are times when ducking and hiding seem to be a valid approach, but the fighter inside me refuses to surrender. It is in those situations that I have learned to take a punch or two until the opportunity presents itself for me to come out swinging. The late, great Muhammad Ali made this technique, the rope-a-dope, famous. He would tire out his opponents as he pretended to be pinned against the ropes.

Every punch is not a knock out, some are meant to help you endure. If you see it coming, duck! Block! Practice the rope-a-dope, but don’t give up. “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have,” (author unknown). Being backed up against the ropes will force you to be strong under the toughest circumstances. You might take a punch or two, but eventually you’ll come out swinging as long as you believe you will win. As two fighters enter the ring each believe that they will emerge as the winner. They don’t prepare for the fight expecting to lose. This mindset helps an underdog capture the victory, and a two-time winner maintain the winning streak.

When your back is against the rope remember…

  • Its only temporary. Don’t give up before the fight is over.

  • Keep your eyes forward, and stay focused.

  • Maintain a strong stance, so not to lose your balance in the fight.

  • Let the fighter inside you emerge. Be ready to come out punching at the first opportunity.

Your victory is within reach as long as you don’t “tap out” too soon.

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